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Steroidal saponins isolated from many plant species belonging to Monocotyledones display potent cytotoxic activity towards many human tumor cells. We examined the cytotoxic effects of crude Paris quadrifolia extract for the first time, testing isolated saponin-rich fractions against four different human cell lines using the [(3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Cytotoxic activity was tested against human promyelocytic leukemia (HL-60) cells, human cervical adenocarcinoma (HeLa) cells and human breast cancer (MDA-MB-468) cells. Human skin fibroblasts were used as non-neoplastic control cells. Our results show significant activity of the weakly water-soluble solid residue and butanolic fraction against HL-60 and HeLa cells. The solid residue exerted cytotoxicity against all tested cell lines.
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